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No reasoning with the elderly on issue of Social Security
Salt Lake Tribune ^ | 5/24/05 | Ruben Navarrette

Posted on 05/25/2005 8:42:08 AM PDT by qam1

The debate over whether to reform Social Security is full of idiosyncrasies.

Here's a big one: No matter what fix we're talking about - partial privatization, raising the retirement age, means testing so millionaires forfeit benefits, tying benefits to inflation rather than wages, etc. - the most ferocious opposition comes from the demographic that won't be affected either way by any proposal being discussed at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue: Americans already 55 and over.

If you can imagine that, you're already two steps ahead of the Bush administration. White House officials seem baffled that their biggest fight has turned out to be with a group with whom the administration went out of the way to avoid picking a fight. The polls on this issue back that up. Most show the same trend: The older the polling sample, the less support you find for tinkering with Social Security. The younger the sample, the greater the support.

The more the administration tries to reassure seniors that they'll squeak by before any rule change takes effect, and so this debate doesn't concern them, the more concerned seniors get. Here's what the White House missed: This isn't just about self-interest. It's also about sentimentality. No other generation is as passionate - and therefore as protective - about Social Security as the World War II generation, those Americans now in their 70s and 80s. For that demographic, this debate is about preserving a program that served their generation well and which they hope will be around several decades from now to serve their grandchildren.

That's interesting. If they really wanted to protect their grandchildren, they'd do everything they could to ensure some generational fair play. Unless something is done, the current system will - 10 or 20 years from now - soak taxpayers with tax rates that experts say could easily top 50 percent when you combine income taxes with the payroll taxes necessary to fund Social Security and Medicare.

But there's no reasoning with the elderly on this issue. I know. I tried.

Recently, I agreed to sit on a panel here in Coronado and discuss Social Security reform. Home to a lot of retired naval officers, the well-to-do community has a reputation for being conservative. But you wouldn't know it from the way the audience - made up almost exclusively of senior citizens - seized every opportunity to tear into President Bush and his proposal to allow young people to invest part of the money they contribute to the current system into private accounts.

The way these seniors see it, this isn't about demographics and the undeniable fact that, with every year that goes by, we have fewer workers supporting more retirees. This isn't about the fact that Americans are living longer, and so it only makes sense to push back the retirement age.

For this crowd, the whole issue of reforming Social Security comes down to trusting George Bush. For those who don't, it's tempting to buy the argument that the administration is manufacturing a crisis to gin up public support for a scheme that will make a fortune for ''Bush's friends on Wall Street.''

Judging from their questions and comments, that's what many in the Coronado audience believed. And they couldn't get past it. They insisted on making the issue political, when it's really generational.

That disappointed me. So did the fact that these seniors had convinced themselves that there was no ''crisis'' in Social Security because the best estimates are that benefits will continue to be paid out for the foreseeable future. They didn't seem to care a whit about the financial strain that future taxpayers will be put under to make that happen. This is the real crisis.

You know what else was disappointing? That many of the seniors were so openly contemptuous of the idea of letting poor and working people invest their own money in private retirement accounts. To listen to these seniors, the less well-off aren't smart enough to know what to invest where, and so need the government to provide them with a guaranteed benefit.

Putting aside the rank condescension, such comments were horribly naive. Given the demographic changes ahead - beginning with the retirement of 70 million baby boomers - don't expect the Social Security system to give out any guarantees or to honor them if it does.

That's something that older generations need to understand - and which younger generations figured out a long time ago.


TOPICS: Extended News
KEYWORDS: aslongasigetmine; elderly; genx; gimmie; greediestgeneration; greedygeezers; navarrette; rubennavarrette; screwthekids; socialsecurity
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1 posted on 05/25/2005 8:42:08 AM PDT by qam1
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; m18436572; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effect Gen-Reagan/Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

2 posted on 05/25/2005 8:43:15 AM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: All
Ruben Navarrette

What a Jerk.

3 posted on 05/25/2005 8:44:17 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: qam1
The debate over whether to reform Social Security is full of idiosyncrasies.

No, it's full of idiots. Starting with the AARP and the media.

4 posted on 05/25/2005 8:44:46 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: Dubya

Whether or not he's a jerk, his analysis is spot-on in this column, IMO.


5 posted on 05/25/2005 8:46:09 AM PDT by dirtboy (Drooling moron since 1998...)
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To: qam1

The AARP rag I just read found some moron who said the return on private accounts would not match the current system.

So government black hole of spending is better than money working in the economy?


6 posted on 05/25/2005 8:46:15 AM PDT by thebaron512
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To: qam1

The "Greatest Generation" turned into the "Greediest Generation"


7 posted on 05/25/2005 8:47:42 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: qam1

They have nothing to lose if social security goes bust. They won't be here.


8 posted on 05/25/2005 8:47:43 AM PDT by Brilliant
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To: dirtboy

I respect your right to have an opinion and post it. Have a nice day.


9 posted on 05/25/2005 8:47:47 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: qam1
I take heart in Flemming vs Nestor (1960) where the US Supreme Court ruled that no American citizen has a right to collect Social Security.

All we Gen-X/Gen-Y have to do is wait until enough of the baby boomers are too senile to vote or are 6 feet under, then we can vote Social Security into oblivion and leave them hanging out to dry.

I'm not putting much faith in this, though, so I am working hard now to amass a small fortune, then stash it in Switzerland somewhere and move myself to Belize or Costa Rica.

10 posted on 05/25/2005 8:49:14 AM PDT by xrp (Fox News Channel should rename itself the Missing Persons Network)
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To: qam1

Add me to your list.


We need to START with auto cuts in soc security NOW!


Our generation has our benes cut twice already.

With thier high ROI, it is the seniors turn to buck up.


11 posted on 05/25/2005 8:50:34 AM PDT by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: thebaron512

The $$ has to be in your name or you can't count on it whether it's the governemnt or your employer-funded pension plan. that is the lesson I preach to my kids. Only if it's in your name can you count on it being there for your retirement. My husband and I bith have employer-funded pensions. We are only 5 years from having 30 years in. It will be tempting to retire and take the money while it's still there. Happily, we have the option of taking it in a lump sum.


12 posted on 05/25/2005 8:50:38 AM PDT by Trust but Verify
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To: thebaron512

Thanks to the Ponzi scheme we are tied to, we are today screwing ourselves and our children. Irrevocably.

It doesn't matter whether you save the money yourself outside Social Secuirty, and plan on financing your retirement with it. Where do you think the government is going to go when Socialistic Security starts to go bankrupt? They will confiscate private savings held in its various forms. This was an idea floated before early in the Clinton administration. It will not only wreck the economy, it will personally bankrupt each and every one of us.

And the greedy American public is too stupidly short-sighted to realize it.


13 posted on 05/25/2005 8:52:24 AM PDT by henkster (When democrats talk of "the rich," they are referring to anyone with a private sector job.)
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To: qam1
In general I have found people over 65 to be the most trusting of government as well as resistant to any change in social insecurity. The first part of the equation has to do with the perception that big government delivered the bacon by directing the victorious war against the Axis and then presiding over the unprecedented post war prosperity.For social insecurity it seems its more of the same politics of nostalgia similar to those New Yorkers who continued to write in Laguardia's name for mayor of NYC long after he was dead. They knew he was under the sod but continued to vote his name as a sort of pious commemoration of the most exciting epoch in their lives.
14 posted on 05/25/2005 8:52:47 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: Dubya
eh? that was a great article. particularly with rippers like this:

You know what else was disappointing? That many of the seniors were so openly contemptuous of the idea of letting poor and working people invest their own money in private retirement accounts. To listen to these seniors, the less well-off aren't smart enough to know what to invest where, and so need the government to provide them with a guaranteed benefit.

15 posted on 05/25/2005 8:53:02 AM PDT by music is math
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To: qam1

As someone looking at 50 next year I'm not sure what all this will bring for me. Nonetheless, I do support private accounts for younger folks. People need to own the fruits of the labor. However it should be no surprise to any of us that so many are desperately addicted to the nanny state and that monthly check. They (as well as me) were told all our lives that the money that came out of our checks would go for us - of course it was a nanny-state lie. What I'd say to all you Gen-X'ers who are trying to find a way to pay for healthcare, be warry of signing on to nice-sounding universal health care plans for all. Nothing's free.


16 posted on 05/25/2005 8:53:45 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: qam1
I suspect that most folks do not understand that any investment in in the stock option is just that, an option. You don't have to invest if you don't want to. I have noticed that the press fails to mention that, or if they do it is given the old Demotwist.
17 posted on 05/25/2005 8:54:34 AM PDT by ANGGAPO (From my cold dead hand.)
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To: music is math

LOL Thanks for pointing that out.


18 posted on 05/25/2005 8:54:37 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: Trust but Verify

Take the lump sum, quickly. I did when I left after 18 years of employment.

But beware my previous post. When the financial catastrophe of social security really begins, the government will confiscate your money anyway. After all, you, with your private savings, will be the "ants" in the minority, and the "majority" of grasshoppers will vote themselves to your money.


19 posted on 05/25/2005 8:54:43 AM PDT by henkster (When democrats talk of "the rich," they are referring to anyone with a private sector job.)
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To: qam1

So much for "The Greatest Generation," eh?


20 posted on 05/25/2005 8:55:54 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I ain't got a dime, but what I got is mine. I ain't rich, but lord I'm free.)
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To: qam1
No matter what fix we're talking about - partial privatization, raising the retirement age, means testing so millionaires forfeit benefits, tying benefits to inflation rather than wages, etc. - the most ferocious opposition comes from the demographic that won't be affected either way by any proposal being discussed at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue: Americans already 55 and over.

Of course this is incorrect when one looks at it realistically. Those things in bold will certainly be done by lying politicians.

21 posted on 05/25/2005 8:59:17 AM PDT by Protagoras (The goal is power, the tool is deceit.)
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To: qam1
the most ferocious opposition comes from the demographic that won't be affected either way by any proposal being discussed at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue: Americans already 55 and over.

According to the census, the over 65 crowd is the wealthiest demographic in the country. When you start having one segment of the population hogging up a bigger and bigger chunk of federal resources, you're going to have a backlash.

22 posted on 05/25/2005 8:59:44 AM PDT by A Ruckus of Dogs
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To: dirtboy

Yes, I can't say I disagree with a thing that the writer says in this pro-Bush article. Thank you for posting it, its nice to see that some people understand what is going on.


23 posted on 05/25/2005 9:01:34 AM PDT by babble-on
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To: qam1

The reason senior citizens are concerned about changes in SS is because the government has been lying to them for longer than younger people. If any politician would own up and tell the truth, that the "contribution" is really just a general fund tax, and that the government would have to replace the income if the system was "privitized" (2004- SS contributions of $522 billion of the 2.92 trillion budget or about 18%)and growing at an increased % rate at about 4% annually, due to be equal in 2018 leaving $26 trillion in unfunded liabilities, then and only then, will the people take a serious look at the "system", and "trust" that politician (oxy-moron) to do what is right for Americans rather than what is "self-preservationist" for himself.


24 posted on 05/25/2005 9:02:01 AM PDT by CIDKauf (No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.)
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To: henkster
Confiscate? Very likely.

However, the even the weasels of Washington cannot confiscate what they cannot find. No one **has** to keep assets in the US, right? And setting up another identity, say Australian for preference, is child's play (if one doesn't intend to live in Australia, at least).

Merely offering a thought here...

25 posted on 05/25/2005 9:02:26 AM PDT by SAJ
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To: CIDKauf

The seniors should also be honest with themselves and admit they are on welfare. SS is nothing but a welfare system by a different name.


26 posted on 05/25/2005 9:03:59 AM PDT by CSM ( If the government has taken your money, it has fulfilled its Social Security promises. (dufekin))
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To: qam1
Now a days it's the old man,
He's got all the money.
And the young man?!
Ain't got nothing in the world these days!

 


27 posted on 05/25/2005 9:05:53 AM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Dubya

I think he's correct in his analysis of old people in this country. I've even heard old people on the radio saying they don't give a damn whether their grandchildren have to pay 20-30-or even 40% of their pay to keep their grandparents in SS money. The funny thing is that these 75+ year olds never really contributed all of that much to the mysterious fund. Rates have pretty much stayed the same, but the income limits have risen dramatically in the last 20 years. I'm 55 years old and I've personally had over $200K taken out of may pay over the last 20 years for Social Security -- double that if you count the amount my employers have paid on my behalf. I would have been happy to have had the opportunity to invest that money in an account with my name on it.

I guess I'm in the minority with the 55 years and over crowd, because I believe that we should let younger (even older) people invest part of the funding in accounts for themselves. If it takes increasing my taxes for the next 10 years to enable this, then okay. Even if it reduces my SS some in the future, I still say okay. I've got grandchildren and I'd like them to reap some benefit from the SS money that is currently being pissed away on SS, SSI, and Medicare.

Regardless, the author of the article was dead-on accurate about the "Greatest Generation."


28 posted on 05/25/2005 9:06:59 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: qam1
But there's no reasoning with the elderly on this issue. I know. I tried.

It is a difficult task, O citizens, to make speeches to the belly, which has no ears.

Plutarch
Life of Marcus Cato

29 posted on 05/25/2005 9:07:48 AM PDT by Plutarch
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To: CSM
The seniors should also be honest with themselves and admit they are on welfare

"Free lunch? Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!!!!!"

30 posted on 05/25/2005 9:11:43 AM PDT by andy58-in-nh
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To: A Ruckus of Dogs
According to the census, the over 65 crowd is the wealthiest demographic in the country.

It is highly unevenly distributed however, with a large percentage having nothing to show for 45 years of "working" life.
31 posted on 05/25/2005 9:12:08 AM PDT by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (Give Them Liberty Or Give Them Death! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth...)
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To: Gaffer

Thanks for the post.
I don't know of anything stopping anyone from investing any way they want to.
I have to wonder how smart is a person who only invest a small part of what they would pay in SS.


32 posted on 05/25/2005 9:12:21 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: qam1
They didn't seem to care a whit about the financial strain that future taxpayers will be put under to make that happen.

So much for the Greatest Generation.

33 posted on 05/25/2005 9:13:52 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: qam1
No matter what fix we're talking about - partial privatization, raising the retirement age, means testing so millionaires forfeit benefits, tying benefits to inflation rather than wages, etc. - the most ferocious opposition comes from the demographic that won't be affected either way by any proposal being discussed at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue: Americans already 55 and over.

Stated as simply as possible, the overwhelming majority of them are functional morons. If ever there is a minimum standard required to participate in the workings of government, as in voting, most of them would be disqualified.

And they all vote.

Any wonder at the sad transformation of our country into a prosperous "third world"?
Our country continues to survive in spite of them. How, I am still mystified about.
Save your flames. I are one of them, in the clear minority.

34 posted on 05/25/2005 9:14:04 AM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen, ignorance and stupidity.)
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To: qam1
So did the fact that these seniors had convinced themselves that there was no ''crisis'' in Social Security because the best estimates are that benefits will continue to be paid out for the foreseeable future. They didn't seem to care a whit about the financial strain that future taxpayers will be put under to make that happen. This is the real crisis

This is one consistent thing I've noticed in trying to explain the reality to this crowd. I think it's the kind of denial a spouse often uses when they know that they're are living a lie, but have clung to it for so long, that they just won't believe it.

They often end with the phrase, " Well I won't be around, so who care s?". And I think, Well our children will, don't you care what you're leaving for them ? .

In ther interests of full disclosure, I am in the late baby boom generation. I fully expect to get nothing- and I wouldn't want it at the expense of my children anyway.

35 posted on 05/25/2005 9:17:07 AM PDT by Red Boots
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To: qam1
...the most ferocious opposition comes from the demographic that won't be affected ...

Possibly this demographic has had more experience with being affected by things that "will not affect" them.

36 posted on 05/25/2005 9:17:28 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: CSM

However, the true beneficiaries were the seniors that recieved benefits without paying into the system...the start of it all. My Momo remembers the problems following the Great Depression and the war that undeiably ended it. My Uncle (84 years old) refers to things as "before the war" or "after the war".


37 posted on 05/25/2005 9:18:34 AM PDT by CIDKauf (No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.)
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To: qam1
One thing that might help with this situation is if Congress could be made to inform SS "contributors" on a regular basis exactly how much of the money they put in goes toward their own retirement, and how much goes toward other purposes (including other people's retirements). That might awaken other demographics within the electorate.
38 posted on 05/25/2005 9:23:23 AM PDT by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: Gaffer

It is going to come down to an explicit or implicit strike.


In Europe the producers just stop working or move. We should have a national strike on the 15th of April.


39 posted on 05/25/2005 9:23:57 AM PDT by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Possibly this demographic has had more experience with being affected by things that "will not affect" them.

Example?

40 posted on 05/25/2005 9:25:44 AM PDT by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: Trust but Verify
My husband and I bith have employer-funded pensions. It will be tempting to retire and take the money while it's still there. Happily, we have the option of taking it in a lump sum.

The lump sum option wasn't available to me when I retired. I suggest you take the money and run. :^)

41 posted on 05/25/2005 9:30:01 AM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: xrp
All we Gen-X/Gen-Y have to do is wait until enough of the baby boomers are too senile to vote or are 6 feet under, then we can vote Social Security into oblivion and leave them hanging out to dry.

Two problems with your scheme:

First, the government will continue to tax you heavily to pay Social Security benefits while you wait for enough of the baby boomers to leave the scene.

Second, there is no reason to believe that enough Gen-X/Gen-Y people will be willing to give up their Social Security benefits when their time comes. My guess is that most will demand to get their "entitlement" just as their elders have.

42 posted on 05/25/2005 9:33:22 AM PDT by Logophile
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To: Dubya
What a Jerk.

Your post proves his point.

43 posted on 05/25/2005 9:33:31 AM PDT by layman (Card Carrying Infidel)
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To: DumpsterDiver

We're going to. We will only be in our late 40's, though. I'm in college part time so I can start a second career. So far so good, 4.0 GPA!


44 posted on 05/25/2005 9:34:04 AM PDT by Trust but Verify
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To: music is math
To listen to these seniors, the less well-off aren't smart enough to know what to invest where, and so need the government to provide them with a guaranteed benefit.

I happen to agree with that sentiment. The difference is, I think that "the less well-off" (and others) should be in control of their money anyway, and then let the chips fall where they may.

45 posted on 05/25/2005 9:34:20 AM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: inquest

Allow me to help. ALL of your money goes straight to fund the 2.6 Trillion gubmint budget.


The money is NOT used to buy TReasuries. They are special IOUs which are NOT marketable. For example, you could make yourself an IOU that says you are a worth a million, but the 'note' would be worthless, except by your income power.

In 2018 the government will lost this source of 300 - 400 billion in funds. Then real treasuries will have to issued or drastic cuts made. Interest rates will go up.


46 posted on 05/25/2005 9:34:58 AM PDT by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: qam1
"For this crowd, the whole issue of reforming Social Security comes down to trusting George Bush."

I think that's right. Given the problem is fewer workers and longer lives, they think privatizing is meant to pull their plug sooner rather than later. In short, in spite of promises, they don't believe George Bush.

47 posted on 05/25/2005 9:36:07 AM PDT by ex-snook (Exporting jobs and the money to buy America is lose-lose.)
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To: fooman
If zero dollars of the person's contributions go toward his own account, then the government should have to state that, in bold, on every SS statement that he receives.
48 posted on 05/25/2005 9:39:20 AM PDT by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: qam1

I don't know why the Bush people should be surprised. AARP has been lying and lying and lying about anything to do with SS. They should have seen it coming.


49 posted on 05/25/2005 9:40:55 AM PDT by CyberAnt (President Bush: "America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth")
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To: CIDKauf

"However, the true beneficiaries were the seniors that recieved benefits without paying into the system..."

Any person that receives a SS check is a beneficiary of a welfare system. Try to deny it with the above justification if it makes you feel any better. It is nothing more than income redistribution of earnings to buy votes. Why do you think the biggest welfare demographic in our country is also the most active politically?

Every generation is robbed from to pay the generation prior to them. It is nothing new now. The generation now that is blocking change at the expense of the later generations is doing nothing but saying, "hey we got robbed, so you should be robbed even more!" The fact that they will not be effected by the proposed changes and they still want to make sure we get robbed, speaks volumes.

The more welfare someone recieves, the more interest they have in ensuring their agenda is continually moving forward.


50 posted on 05/25/2005 9:42:34 AM PDT by CSM ( If the government has taken your money, it has fulfilled its Social Security promises. (dufekin))
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